Personal profile

Research profile

Throughout my research career, I have advanced the understanding of human movement disorders using a control-theoretical approach. I have developed methods and devices to assess and understand neuromuscular control in both healthy subjects and patients with neurological dysfunction. Key is the use of force-controlled robotic manipulators, neuromuscular modeling, and closed-loop system identification techniques to untangle the human motor control system. After my MSc (cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Biomechatronics and Biorobotics, I performed my PhD project on novel research methods focused on patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). I pioneered novel system identification techniques that enable the quantification of contributions of force, velocity and position feedback to human motor control simultaneously. Evidence for a relation between CRPS and muscle force feedback is compelling. One of my approaches was published in the high-impact Journal of Neuroscience. After my PhD, I turned towards developing a novel system to investigate pathological brain networks in movement disorders combining functional MRI, measures of muscle activity, and a wrist manipulator. This involves a high-end MR-compatible robotic manipulator to apply external motor and sensory perturbations within the MR environment. After this postdoc I did another at VU University on the capabilities and limitations of the human operator in visio-haptic tasks and developing a paradigm for effective integration of visual and haptic feedback such that human-machine performance is optimal.
My fruitful national and international collaborations have already resulted in joint publications, the development of a commercially available robot manipulator (with MOOG) and the world’s-first MRI-compatible haptic manipulator capable of reflex identification. In my last postdoc project I brought together the research on human capabilities and limitations and the design of Haptic Shared Control, which has already led to the first implementation of haptic support for force control tasks. I (co-)organized workshops in the World Haptics Conference and ISEK conference bringing together leaders of the fields in panel discussions to further the communities.
Now, as an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology I teach Neuromechanics & Motor control, Biomechanics and System Identification & Parameter Estimation, and I supervise PhD and MSc students. I am project leader of the Stiffness as Needed project within the NWO-TTW NeuroCIMT perspective programme, the Take-off ‘STIL: Suppressing Tremor through Inertial Loading’ and the newly acquired IMDI ‘Precision Orthotics in stroke, MS and CP’. All projects focus on getting orthoses that target specific movement disorders to the market.

Academic background

Assistant professor (2015-now) in Neuromechanics and Motor Control (Biomechanical Engineering, 3mE, TUD). Alfred Schouten and I head the NeuroMuscular Control lab (NMClab).
Postdoc (2013-2015) on the H-Haptics-project ‘Haptic Fidelity’ at VU & TUD ((>1 day/week @ TUD). Determining the capabilities and limitations of the human operator in visio-haptic tasks and developing a paradigm for effective integration of visual and haptic feedback such that human-machine performance is optimal.
Postdoc (2010-2014) on the NeuroSIPE-project ‘Movement Diagnostic System’ at TUD & AMC (>1 day/week @ AMC). Designing a high-end MR-compatible haptic robotic device to allow neuromuscular identification during functional MRI. The novel system investigates pathological brain networks in movement disorders
PhD-student (2006 - 2010) within the consortium Trauma Related Neuronal Dysfunction (TREND) at TUD & LUMC (>1 day/week @ LUMC). Highly multidisciplinary work requiring haptic robotics, advanced modeling and measuring of human force feedback and motor control, and system identification techniques to improve diagnostics of patients with movement disorders.
Research assistant (05/2006 - 08/2006) on a project of TUD with Boeing: 'Implementation of an advanced neuromuscular control system into the pilot model in the Boeing balked landing study'.
MSc-student (2003-2006) Mechanical Engineering at the department of Biomechanical Engineering at TUD. Graduated with honours on ‘Modulation of muscle force feedback to affect human ankle admittance’ and successfully completed the ‘Biomedical Engineering’ Honours Track (an extension of elective courses at other faculties and universities for excellent students, 30 ECTS)


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